FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                        
For Information Contact:
Dennis Boston at (202) 628-5935

 March 21, 2001


Coalition of Rail Employees Strongly Endorses
Introduction of Railroad Retirement Improvement Legislation

Washington, DC – The Coalition of Rail Employees for Improved Pensions (REIP) strongly commends congressional leaders for today’s introduction of the Railroad Retirement and Survivors’ Improvement Act of 2001.

At a press conference presided over by Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Don Young (R-AK) and Ranking Member James Oberstar (D-MN), and joining Association of American Railroads CEO Edward R. Hamberger, the labor coalition called the legislation a historic opportunity. 

The bill provides improvements in benefits for rail widows and widowers, lowers the age at which a rail worker may retire with full benefits after 30 years of service, and reduces the number of years a rail employee must work before achieving a vested benefit.  The Coalition feels this is measurable progress in an industry characterized by demanding, physical labor over many years and a strong statement about the strength of the rail retirement system now and under this bill.

           The legislation permits trustees of the bill’s Railroad Retirement Investment Trust to invest funds for the first time in private equity markets in order to increase investment yields. Increased yields permit more benefits to be offered under the program, as well as the opportunity to lower the taxes that support the system.


The Coalition of Rail Employees for Improved Pensions (REIP) is comprised of the following unions: International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers (IBB); International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW); National Conference of Firemen and Oilers – SEIU; Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees International Union (HERE); International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers (Iron Workers); Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (BLE); International Longshoremen?s Association (ILA); International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM); Seafarers International Union of North America (SIU); Service Employees International Union (SEIU); Sheet Metal Workers International Association (SMWIA); Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS); American Train

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